There were few opportunities for enthusiastic young potters to learn and practise their craft in 1940s New Zealand. Introduced to clay at Auckland Teachers’ College, Stichbury then attended evening classes with Robert Nettleton Field – an artist, teacher, and potter just back from London. In 1951, Stichbury himself became a teacher, taking up a position at Ardmore Teachers’ College.
Some of Stichbury’s enduring interests and techniques began to emerge in this formative period. He increasingly rejected commercially-available clays in favour of local materials. He was also drawn to simple, everyday items for domestic use, like those shown here.
Like many other emerging potters of the time, Stichbury was impressed by the ideas and work of English potters Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew. Stichbury’s cider jar of 1952 was inspired by a Cardew jar – and the man and his practice would remain an enduring influence in the years ahead.